Friday, June 26, 2009

Do You Remember the Time...


My internet has been down for a week,
and I am quite shocked by how much it has rocked my world
to be so out of touch.

(thank GOD for my Blackberry, at least I have been SOMEWHAT
connected to the outside world via that tiny little screen)

So, it was via Facebook Mobile yesterday
that I was stunned to hear
that the King of Pop
had passed.

Now, I know that MJ has had some challenges in his time...
(who doesn't?)

But I will never allow myself to remember him
as the man who had such a troubled adult life.

I choose to think of him as the man that
made my heart sing as a young girl
in the Midwest in the 1980's
who so desperately wanted to be COOL.

Like him.

*1979, the year I was born

*Captain Eo was my FAVORITE

And as an adult woman, I still saw him as
a young, brilliant child,
who really just needed a hug.

So, Michael, I choose to remember you
as you TRULY were:
the most brilliant and talented musical artist of our time.

Rest in Peace, finally, sweet man.

I will forever be your PYT.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I went to the fabulous Radisson Hotel at LAX
to see Mata Amritanandamayi,
otherwise known as Amma.

Amma, or 'Mother' is an Indian Spiritual teacher,
and is most widely recognized for her
humanitarian efforts.
Her followers call her the 'Hugging Saint.'

I've never been to an Amma event,
nor had I really heard much about her,
but a friend of mine said a saint was hugging people,
and I thought, 'Why not?'

We arrived and got in line for Darshan,
the opportunity to meet Amma,
get a hug from her,
and subsequently receive her blessing.

There were booths selling amazing scarves,
incense, and tons of books on spirituality.

But something more interesting caught my eye.

The Amma Doll.

Amma Dolls came into being when a
young girl living at Amma's Ashram in India
carried a doll with her everywhere.
Amma suggested that she carry a doll like
Krishna or something similar,
which would help her go toward God
instead of going toward worldly things.

The girls mother asked Amma if she could
make a doll for the girl in her likeness,
and Amma replied with a resounding 'Yes!'

That night the woman made an Amma doll and
the young girl started to carry the doll everywhere they went.

People she encountered, without knowing why, wanted to hold the doll.
The doll became a way for others to receive darshan,
a spiritual encounter with the saint.
Women and men alike claimed to have a spiritual experience
through hugging this doll.

I am always one for having a souvenir of my experiences,
spiritual or otherwise,
so I gave a $20 bill to a woman
selling tiny Amma dolls, about 3 inches tall,
and got in line for my hug.

*my Amma Doll

Amma pushed me to her breast, chanting into my ear,
rocking me like a small baby.
She smelled of incense and rosewater,
and a calmness washed over me.

I was loved.

She blessed my little Amma doll, and sent me on my way,
with a few rose petals, and a Hershey's kiss.

When we left, I realized that I truly AM loved.
And, by many people.

And although I am grateful to have been blessed by a saint,
and to have this sweet little doll to talk to,
ask questions, and have something
to hold as a connection to the Greater Universe,
I realize that I have all that I need inside.

Maybe THAT is what she whispered into my ear...

At the very least, I have a sweet little friend to hold at night,
while I dream of travelling across the stars.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

On a short leash...

I am always looking for adorable dog accessories,
and was so happy to find that Elle Decor
(my new favorite shelter mag, since Domino was laid to rest)
has a similar passion.

I am mad for
a fabulous new line of dog leashes and collars
featured in the June issue:
the Sailors Knot collection
from Mascot.
* You can find these at my favorite doggy store in LA-
Maxwell Dog, in Studio City

Available in 12 different colorways,
with nickel hardware,
these Nantucket rope-bracelet inspired baubles
have me dreaming of taking Pippa
to the Hampton's on a mini-break.

I also stumbled upon THESE
adorable/incredibly durable
(a huge plus at my house)
Rope Balls and Bones from Harry Barker...

I think Pippa may need a new preppy set of accessories
to ring in the summer...

Even if we can't make it out to the Hampton's this year,
she still must look her best...
One never knows, she may have
some new competition
in the Cutest Puppy category
at the dog park.

I mean, no matter WHAT she's sporting,
she's Top Dog in my book...

But its always good to show the newbies who's boss,
keep 'em on a short rope.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

I left my heart at Hearst Castle...

I have been thinking about the beautiful Ranch
in the hills of San Simeon
all week.

The birds were chirping,
the waves crashing on the beach,
(we even saw some blue whales breaching)
and I felt a calmness I'm not used to feeling in the city.

While there,
I got thinking about the guests who got to stay
for a weekend at the request of W.R. Hearst,
and wished I was one of them.

The spectacular views, the amazing gardens,
and most admirably,
the POOLS.

There, of course, were two.

The outdoor Neptune pool for catching some rays
after a long ride on the property,
or a challenging game of tennis...

*Scenes from Spartacus were filmed here

and the indoor Roman pool,
for evening swims,

*the diving platform

was decorated with 1" mosaic glass tiles,
detailed with 23K gold leaf,

and glistened by antique candle-lit fixtures.

I would have loved to have enjoyed a night cap and
taken a dip with a young Cary Grant...

*he was a frequent guest...

before turning into my room at Casa Del Sol,
the 3600 sq. foot guest house.

*Casa del Sol

Maybe I would have asked him to tuck me in...

I know, there are many who would argue that he would have been
much more intrigued by Clark Gable than me,

but I'm willing to wager he would have found me enchanting.

Who knows?
Maybe in a past life, he did.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Miami Vice.

Another cloudy day in Sunny SoCal.

A very dear friend of mine is visiting from Miami,
we are meeting up for dinner tonight,
and I can't help but feel sheepish about the weather.

Afterall, Miami is SO delicious this time of year...
(save for the occasional hurricane)
and I'm feeling a little silly bragging about my amazing California Coastline.

Makes me think maybe I should have headed HIS way...

To lay around on the beach,

and stay at the Kelly Wearstler-designed
The Tides South Beach

for some much needed R&R.

This hotel makes me SWOON,
I find it just absolutely perfect.

I imagine myself laying poolside, with a very large straw sunhat,
sipping some fruity beverage,
engrossed in some terrible girly novel
in my polka-dotted bikini.

It's no mistake that my favorite hotel in Miami
was designed by an Angeleno...

I guess even on vacation, there's still no place like home.


Monday, June 8, 2009

And not for $1.00 more...

I spent the weekend in San Simeon,
at 'The Ranch' as they liked to call it.
(Hearst had 7 other estates of this magnitude,
the actual 'Castle' was in Wales, I found out,
and he had an additional 30 individual homes.)

When George Bernard Shaw visited 'The Ranch',
he is quoted as saying that it was
"what God would have built if he had the money."

I was awestruck by the incredible detail,
how nothing was spared in the creation of this remarkable place.

And I will discuss that at length in the posts that follow.

But one of the most intriguing parts of my visit,
what had me completely romanced,
was Hearst's affair with actress Marion Davies.

They were in love.

And although he was married, with a wife in the 90 room estate
on Long Island, raising the 5 children,
he was throwing lavish parties at The Ranch,
with her by his side.

They would swim, horseback ride, and play tennis by day,
have cocktail hour at 7:30p,
dinner in the dining room at 10p,
and then a movie afterward in the ornate theater
(normally staring her)
before retiring to bed.

Guests included all the biggest stars: Douglas Fairbanks,
Charlie Chaplin,
and even a young JFK.

What a decadent life.

And then,

When Hearst died, he left 51% of his wealth to Marion.
And in a spirit of solidarity she sold it back to his wife and children.

For $1.00 per year.

You see, she was never in it for the money.

She was just in love.

Imagine that, a man literally on top of the world.
And the true treasure in his life couldn't be bought.

Now THAT's priceless.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

HEART Castle...

The girls and I have stolen away to Hearst Castle
for the weekend!

I'll take tons of pictures of the amazing grounds,
find out as many anecdotal tales as I can,
and have some hillarious stories from the trip, I'm sure.

Until then,
Bonne Weekend!!


Friday, June 5, 2009

Hello, Moto... Benso Photo.

My friend Shaun is an incredible photographer.

Needing a new publicity shot,
I called on him to take some photos of me
that were neither too predictable nor out there.

I headed over to his studio,
some random outfits in tow,
and pulled up to this total babe on a motor-scooter.

His name was Gunner
(of course it was)
and he was picking up his proofs JUST as I happened to arrive.
(perfect timing)

*Gunner, the adorable motor-biker, as captured by Shaun

But I digress.

My POINT is that Benso Photo
(Shaun BENSOn: photographer)
not only made me feel like a supermodel all afternoon,
he fed me Mexican coffee, played groovy tunes,
and captured shots I am completely amazed by.

*Please note: none of these have even been touched UP yet...

If you're ever in need of a brilliant photographer,
please do call on him.

And Mr. Motorbike, you can call on ME anytime.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Blackberry Jam.

I got a random call from a dear friend of mine a couple of weeks ago.

His friend, a casting director, was looking
for people whose lives, essentially, depend upon their

*no, not THOSE ones.

*THIS one.

Of course he called me.

(thanks, I think, Jason.)

The next thing I know I have a film crew of 20
in my house to shoot me,
an Interior Designer, and DesignCupcake blogger
talking about my love for this brilliant contraption.

Of course I had about 24 hours to prep my newly-moved-into home
to make it look like I am a fabulous Interior Designer
whose home is done to the nines...

So I did what any girl would do.

I called on my friends Peter Dunham and Nathan Turner.
*which was a much more productive option than threatening to kill
my upholsterer to get my chaise and curtains finished in record time.

Everyone at Almont Yard
helped me complete my fabulous office,
replete with Peter's gorgeous Gibbs Chair

and his famous How to Marry a Millionaire rushed stool.

*The curtain of course is my FAVORITE colorway
(peacock/tea) of his Kashmir Paisley...

Nathan loaned me this INCREDIBLE custom dhurrie rug,
that alas they decided not to use, but is too delicious to not be mentioned.

*if the dogs didn't chew EVERYTHING on the floor,
this would be a permanent fixture in my home.

And it turned out so sweetly,
that now I'm re-thinking my entire scheme.

I mean, walking on to 'the set' of a fabulous Interior Designer's office
makes a girl question her decor...

Afterall, I'm not REALLY an Interior Designer, I just PLAY one on TV.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Only Have Eyes for Tomb...

I am happy to report that romance
is alive and flourishing in Los Angeles.

Memorial Day weekend found me at the
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
for the Cinespia screening of one of my all-time favorite films,
Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief.

A very charming, yet soulful, native Angeleno showed me the ropes,
(I'd shockingly never been)
replete with picnic blanket, cheese and a bottle of wine.
(I supplied the Haribo Gummibears.)

We poured a glass,
then took a stroll to bear witness to
the other 1800 people who had gathered to bask in
the Holiday weekend start-of-summer glory by
sitting under the stars,
taking in this Hitchcock classic.

Although a tad chilly, we sat snuggled up on our blanket
and watched as Grant and Kelly wooed one another.

The music swelled, the credits scrolled down the mausoleum wall,
and 'I Only Have Eyes for You' started playing as the lights came up.

And then, he kissed me.
Right there next to Laurence Olivier's tomb.

Hey, whoever says 'Romance is Dead' has CLEARLY
never been to the cemetery.